by Thomas Day
California Bikers Battle City Hall with Weapons
Shades of the Mexico drug wars, in Helmet, California, bikers have set fire to four city trucks as reprisal for a police crackdown on local biker gangs. Police have received death threats and there have been assaults on individual police. The downtown police department building has been barricaded and is getting a new iron fence to protect the department from attack. The war began when a gang taskforce went after the the largest biker gang in the state, the Vagos, prosecuting parole violations and crimes against people and property. Someone piped natural gas into the taskforce headquarters, booby-trapped the building’s gate with a homemade gun, and strapped a pipe bomb to an unmarked police car.
“We go around with a target painted on our backs,” said Chief Richard Dana. “Now, an officer walks out from roll call, then gets on his knees to look under his car and see that there’s no bomb there.”
Helmet is a collection of low income houses and trailer courts near Riverside, CA. The city, state, and federal agencies have posted a $200,000 reward for information leading to arrests in the attacks.
2010 MotoGP Series Opens in Qatar
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) began the 2010 series with a win. Casey Stoner had the starting pole, but crashed after a few laps leaving the race to Rossi and his teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Andrea Dovizioso took 3rd for Honda and Nicky Hayden (Ducati) finished 4th.
Supercross Results to Date
Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) is on a roll, getting the hole shot and `winning his 7th Supercross main event in Houston. Kevin Windham (Honda) took 2nd and Ivan Tedesco (Yamaha) finished in 3rd. Ryan Dungey (Suzuki), the series leader finished 5th. Villopoto is 12 points behind Dungey with four races left in the series.
Arizona Splits, France Might Not?
Representative Jerry Weiers’ Arizona House Bill 2475 appears to be likely to introduce Arizona motorists to modern transportation legislation. The bill’s sponsor hopes to legalize, for a one-year probationary period, “filtering” (lane-splitting in stopped traffic). The law should go into effect on January 1, 2011 and it only applies to counties with populations of 2 million or greater (Maricopa county and Phoenix-Glendale-Scottsdale).
On the other hand, France is joining the dark side. French Transport Secretary Jean-Marc Belotti told motorcyclists that “they can take the metro like everyone else” if that don’t like the new citations for “filtering” on French roadways. More than 40,000 motorcyclists turned out to protest the anti-lane-splitting change and Paris suffered massive traffic congestion during the protest. After the protest, Belotti met with the FFMC (French Federation of Angry Bikers) and is re-evaluating the lane-splitting rule change.
At the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, KTM showed off a pair of “near-series prototype” all electric off-road motorcycles; an enduro and a supermoto. Both bikes should weigh-in at less than 200 pounds and produce about 30 peak horsepower and a 43 mph max speed. Typical of KTM, the electric bikes are beautiful.
The AMA Does Something Smart?
After a series of incredibly dumb mismanagement moves, including selling AMA Pro Racing to a private company, the AMA may have done something clever; hiring Jeff Ward as the “rider liaison and advisor.” Jeff is a nine-time AMA Pro Racing champ in Motocross, Supercross and Supermoto, an Indy Car winner, the 1997 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, and he took 2nd place finish at Indy in 1999.
“I’m delighted to be joining the AMA Pro Racing series,” said Ward, “I personally know many of the riders and am looking forward to helping them have a positive influence in the future direction of the sport and the way in which they plan and pursue their training, successful strategies and careers.”
A New Super Ténéré
One of Yamaha’s long-term coolest bikes, the Super Ténéré, received a big update for 2011. On the 30th anniversary of BMW’s GS large bore adventure bike, Yamaha introduces a 1200cc, parallel twin-cylinder, traction control, ABS brakes, and adventure-motorcycling competitor. With a six gallon tank and 575 pounds wet, this monster can go practically anywhere you’d want to go. Now we just have to hope Yamaha decides to import it to the US.
Arizona Trucker Kills Four
On March 25, a sanitation truck driver ran into a group of motorcyclists at a stoplight in Phoenix; killing four and injuring five others. Michael Jakscht, 46, was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of methamphetamine and “four counts of manslaughter, five counts of aggravated assault, and seven counts of endangerment.” He could also be charged with impaired driving.
Test Your Rider Perception
The MSF has posted a pair of Rider Perception video tests at http://www.msf-usa.org/riderperception/. “Choose either Road Sign Tests or Collision Traps Tests. The Road Sign Tests help you identify common road signs. The Collision Traps Tests help you evaluate riding situations. Both types of tests demonstrate how quickly your eyes and mind work together if you are attentive.” Torment your friends with scores they can only imagine achieving.
As off-road enthusiasts we are always looking for a new riding opportunities. The northern part of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan offer hundreds of miles of excellent trail riding, and most are only a few hours drive away. A great guide to the trails of Michigan is the Cycle Conservation Club (CCC) of Michigan’s 120 page Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) Trial System Map Book. This comprehensive guide identifies over 3,000 miles of trails by region with trail heads and parking identified along with trails designated for ORV, motorcycle trails requiring permits, and our favorite, single track. This includes the epic Michigan Cross Country Cycle Trail (MCCCT). Riders looking for a long dual-sport adventure need to try the MCCCT. It’s over 1,300 miles long for the entire route with a shortened 500-mile loop for the riders looking for an excellent weekend dual sport ride. So where do you get a copy of the ORV Trial System Map Book? Well that’s the interesting part, it’s not for sale. You do receive a free copy if you join the CCC. You can learn more about the Map Book and the CCC at www.cycleconservationclub.org or by calling 517-781-4805. They encourage everyone to get the book and stay on the trail.